The Bluesbox Collection

Montgomery Ward (?) Kit Parlor Guitar (circa 1940's - 50's)

The most unusual feature of this guitar is that the fingerboard is also made of mahogany, and then faced with what looked like very thin rosewood veneer. I had never seen that on any guitar before. In one spot, the veneer was starting to chip off, so I made the decision to remove the veneer and just expose the mahogany fingerboard underneath. I was surprised to discover that the veneer is one piece of some kind of plastic - and the frets are attached to it - and they are made out of plastic as well!! Notice in this shot that the frets don't actually penetrate the fingerboard. That is because they are just laying on top of the plastic veneer. This is the clue that finally solved the mystery. The plastic fretboard overlay was obviously a mass-produced item. This evidence points to a "do it yourself" kit for the home hobbyist. The kit would have come with all of the wooden parts already cut to size. The sides would be pre-bent (actually they are all one piece). The neck roughly finished, with the tuner holes pre-drilled. The hobbyist would follow the directions supplied with the kit, glue the pieces together, and then finish the wood him or herself. It is quite possible that such a kit would have been imported from Europe. With this evidence in mind, I re-examined the manufacturer's stamp under the sound hole. I could clearly make out an "M" at the beginning and toward the other end, what could be a "W".

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